McCain's Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking About Hope

Overview

Is John McCain "For Real?"

That's the question David Foster Wallace set out to explore when he first climbed aboard Senator McCain's campaign caravan in February 2000. It was a moment when Mccain was increasingly perceived as a harbinger of change, the anticandidate whose goal was "to inspire young Americans to devote themselves to causes greater than their own self-interest." And many young Americans were beginning to take notice.

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McCain's Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking About Hope

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Overview

Is John McCain "For Real?"

That's the question David Foster Wallace set out to explore when he first climbed aboard Senator McCain's campaign caravan in February 2000. It was a moment when Mccain was increasingly perceived as a harbinger of change, the anticandidate whose goal was "to inspire young Americans to devote themselves to causes greater than their own self-interest." And many young Americans were beginning to take notice.

To get at "something riveting and unspinnable and true" about John Mccain, Wallace finds he must pierce the smoke screen of spin doctors and media manipulators. And he succeeds-in a characteristically potent blast of journalistic brio that not only captures the lunatic rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign but also delivers a compelling inquiry into John McCain himself: the senator, the POW, the campaign finance reformer, the candidate, the man.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Wallace's inexperience as a campaign reporter is an advantage here, leading to unvarnished insights."—Ariel Gonzalez, Miami Herald

"Bracingly insightful."—Pankaj Mishra, New York Times Book Review

"Wallace conveys a geniuine disillusionment at the sham of the whole arrangement: the endless political posturing, the robotic news coverage...At the same time, he recognize's McCain's essential magnetism."—Steve Almond, Los Angeles Time Book Review

"Compelling...A patient and thoughtful meditation on what McCain's military past-specifically, his five-plus years as a prisoner of war-means about his moral fiber."—Kevin Canfield, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

<b>Ariel Gonzalez</b> - Miami Herald
"Wallace's inexperience as a campaign reporter is an advantage here, leading to unvarnished insights."
Kevin Canfield - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Compelling...A patient and thoughtful meditation on what McCain's military past-specifically, his five-plus years as a prisoner of war-means about his moral fiber."
Pankaj Mishra - New York Times Book Review
"Bracingly insightful."
Steve Almond - Los Angeles Time Book Review
"Wallace conveys a geniuine disillusionment at the sham of the whole arrangement: the endless political posturing, the robotic news coverage...At the same time, he recognize's McCain's essential magnetism."
Pankaj Mishra
Bracingly insightful.
New York Times Book Review
Ariel Gonzalez
Wallace's inexperience as a campaign reporter is an advantage here, leading to unvarnished insights.
Miami Herald
Steve Almond
Wallace conveys a geniuine disillusionment at the sham of the whole arrangement: the endless political posturing, the robotic news coverage...At the same time, he recognize's McCain's essential magnetism.
Los Angeles Time Book Review
Kevin Canfield
Compelling...A patient and thoughtful meditation on what McCain's military past-specifically, his five-plus years as a prisoner of war-means about his moral fiber.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316040532
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 6/1/2008
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.

Biography

Born in Ithaca, NY, and raised in Champaign, IL, David Foster Wallace grew up athletically gifted and exceptionally bright, with an avid interest in tennis, literature, philosophy, and math. He attended Amherst and graduated in 1985 with a double major in English and Philosophy. His philosophy thesis (on modal logic) won the Gail Kennedy Memorial Prize. His English thesis would become his first novel, The Broom of the System. Published in 1987 during his second year of grad school at the University of Arizona, the book sold well, garnering national attention and critical praise in equal measure. Two years later, a book of short stories, Girl with Curious Hair, was published to admiring reviews.

In the early 1990s, Wallace's short fiction began to appear regularly in publications like Playboy, The Paris Review, and The New Yorker, along with excerpts from his second novel, a complex, enormously ambitious work published in 1996 as Infinite Jest. Surpassing 1,000 pages in length, the novel was hailed as a masterpiece ("[A]n entertainment so irresistibly pleasurable it renders the viewer catatonic," raved Newsweek. "[R]esourceful, hilarious, intelligent, and unique," pronounced Atlantic Monthly), and Wallace was crowned on the spot the new heavyweight champion of literary fiction.

Hyperbole aside, Infinite Jest, with its linguistic acrobatics (challenging complex clauses, coined words, etc.) and sly, self-referential footnotes, proved to be the template for a new literary style. Subversive, hip, and teeming with postmodernist irony, the book attracted a rabid cult following and exerted an influence on up-and-coming young writers that is still felt today. The scope of Wallace's achievement can be measured by the fact that one year after the publication of Infinite Jest, he was awarded the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant."

Nearly as famous for his nonfiction as for his novels and stories, Wallace produced mind-boggling essays on assignment for magazines like Harper's. In contrast to his sad, dark, disturbing fiction, these essays -- subsequently collected into such bestselling anthologies as A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (1997), Everything and More (2003), and Consider the Lobster (2007) -- were ridiculously exuberant, fairly bursting with humor, energy, and good cheer. Yet Wallace himself suffered from clinical depression most of his adult life. He was treated successfully with anti-depressants, until side effects from the drugs began to interfere with his productivity. At his doctor's suggestion, he stopped taking the medication.The depression returned, and he did not respond to any further treatment. In September of 2008, at the age of 46, he committed suicide.

Wallace's influence on contemporary literature cannot be overstated. Descended from post-war superstars like Thomas Pynchon and Don De Lillo, his style is clearly visible in the work of postmodernists like Jonathan Safran Foer and Dave Eggers. His untimely death was mourned by critics, writers, and millions of adoring fans. As author David Lipsky stated in a tribute that aired on NPR in September, 2008: "To read David Foster Wallace was to feel your eyelids pulled open."

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    1. Date of Birth:
      February 21, 1962
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ithaca, NY
    1. Date of Death:
      September 12, 2008
    2. Place of Death:
      Claremont, CA
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English & Philosophy, Amherst College, 1985;MFA, University of Arizona, 1987

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